Last year’s top two teams of the table again find themselves with each other but this time they both are at the bottom of the table. Both Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore have not been able to replicate their last season’s performances so far in this season.
It is kind of absurd that these same players were performing magnificently in the previous season and have failed in this edition. It goes to show that you may have the best of players in the world or you may look strong on paper but it is your performance on the ground that matters.
Both the teams will know that it’s still early days in the tournament and they need to get back to winning ways as soon as possible. They won’t like to do what Leicester City is doing in the English Premier League and they will be knowing the fact that what Mumbai Indians did.
RCB have not played to their potential and their over-dependency on skipper and AB de Villiers is getting them into trouble. Shane Watson is having one of the worst starts of the tournament and their hard hitter Chris Gayle has also not woken up yet. It is surprising to see that their strong domain is struggling to get the runs.
Other players like Mandeep Singh, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi are not supporting which is leading to their woes. They may include Travis Head in place of Shane Watson and Tymal Mills is also expected to play in place of Adam Milne even though the New Zealander had a decent last game.
AB de Villiers will not play because of injury and it will be a big setback for RCB as it is really difficult to fill his place.
Lions also haven’t been able to roar and are not yet up to the mark. They are dearly missing the services of their star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo especially in the bowling department. Aaron Finch is expected to play today and may replace Jason Roy but provided he should have his kit today.
Dinesh Karthik has played two quick innings and he was also in good form in the domestic circuit so he should be sent at number 3.
RCB will be happy that they won’t be playing on the tricky wicket of M. Chinnaswamy Stadium as the Rajkot Stadium is generally a paradise for the batsmen and they would be hoping that their batters can get their confidence back. Lions have won their only match of the season on this ground and they would like to add one to that.
In the last season when these two sides met in the league matches, both the teams won one match each and RCB also won the qualifier, hence they have a 2-1 advantage over Lions.
Match Predictions: Run-fest is expected and the side that will win the toss will most likely field first because of the dew factor. RCB will enter the contest as favourites even though they are not in the best of form.
Toss Predictions: RCB will win the toss and will elect to field.
RCB Probable XI: Virat Kohli (c), Travis Head, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav (wk), Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Yuzvendra Chahal, Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Sreenath Aravind.
GL Probable XI: Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ishan Kishan, Aaron Finch, Ravindra Jadeja, Andrew Tye, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Basil Thampi.
Venue: Saurashtra Cricket Association Ground, Rajkot.
Date & Kick-off– April 18, 2017, 8:00 PM IST.
Live Streaming – Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD, Sony Max, Sony Max HD, Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD and Hot Star.